GEO

Living conditions of ecological migrants in Shavghele

19 September, 2013

Village Shavghele lies along the Khobi-Poti road, by the bank of Rioni River. The settlement distanced from the road by 6 kilometers is flooded during the rainy season, drainage system is out of order, a water pump is destroyed. Second floors of houses are used for living due to the fear of dampness and flooding.

130-household village is settled with the Adjarian ecological migrants who had suffered from a landslide in 1989. Soviet authorities have accommodated families moving from Khulo, Keda and Shuakhevi in the low-quality buildings. Majority of houses is unfit for living, roofs are on the brink of destruction. Dampness and swamp often cause chronic diseases among the locals. There is no medical station in the village, while due to amortized roads an ambulance requires several hours to get to the place of call.

Main source of income of the majority of Shavghele residents is remuneration for the three-month work in Turkey. According to the Village Trustee, over 120 residents move annually to the neighboring state, looking for the jobs.

"We gather tea, where else can we work, we can't speak Turkish and in any case, it's too hard for the men to find work there", - says 41 year-old Merab Kamadadze, whose monthly monetary-social assistance was cancelled by the Social Service Agency in 2 months from its appointment. The Agency has referred to Kamadadze's 2-month employment at the Kulevi Terminal as the reason for cancellation - while working as a welder, Merab Kamadadze has received up to 150 GEL net as a monthly salary. As the Trustee of the Shavghele territorial authority Nugzar Chaghalidze told the representative of Transparency International Georgia, 32 families used to receive the state assistance, and after the next visit of the Social Service Agency representatives only 6 families have remained eligible. None of the sent letters requesting the revision of decisions has yielded any results.

Apart from working in Turkey, the locals pursue cattle-breeding as well, but owing to the lack of pastures they have difficulties in feeding the cattle. Further, agriculture is not profitable because of land-starved areas.

The only project that is to be implemented in Shavghele as part of the Rural Aid Program is the construction of a kindergarten. To this end, 25,581 GEL were allocated under the State Program, co-funded with 30 thousand GEL from the Khobi Municipality Gamgeoba. Overall, a kindergarten for 60 children should open in Shavghele next year. The Deputy Gamgebeli of the Khobi Municipality Badri Jobava has told the representative of Transparency International Georgia that 55 thousand GEL are enough to build a kindergarten. He claimed also that the project and estimate of the building are already drawn up.

Badri Jobava has stated further that as a result of joint work of the Ministries of Regional Development and Infrastructure and Health, an outpatient clinic should also open up this year in Shavghele. As for cleaning up the channels, Jobava claims that channels belong to the Melioration Service and this very state agency is authorized to rehabilitate them.

A village school requiring renovation and upgrade in inventory is in a severe condition. Transport-related problems also prevail - only one trip of the Shavghele-Poti minibus taxi a day does not meet the demands of locals: residents of Shavghele are even unable to sell scarce agricultural goods on the agricultural markets of Poti and Khobi.

We believe the Khobi Municipality should identify resources in the next year's budget for providing the municipal transport to the Shavghele population. It is expedient that when planning the next year's budget, the Municipal Development Fund takes into account the rehabilitation of the Shavghele-Poti connecting road. Organization of an outpatient clinic in the village should be expedited also - lack of medical services and access to medications endangers not only health but even the lives of humans.

Transparency International Georgia continues monitoring the problems of local population in regions and informing the general public thereof.

Author: TI Georgia